Slamming DC. It may be the singular most popular political game around today. Everybody does it. Even incumbents go out of their way to blame Washington for everything that’s wrong with the country. A lot like a baseball manager complaining that his team suffers from a crippling lack of quality coaching.
You’ve heard all the buzz phrases: “Washington is not the answer, it is the problem.” “The devil made both Washington and hell, but chooses to live in hell.” “Washington is a cesspool.” Sure, that’s what they say, but once elected, they treat it like a hot tub.
Hard to tell what disturbs the critics most: the culture, the people or the traffic on the Beltway. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. The residents of our nation’s capital are absolutely normal. Okay, absolutely semi-normal. Or as normal as can be, considering the 202 area code is hive mind to some of the largest egos in the world. At least now we know what happens when the inmates take over the asylum. And the most venally ambitious of the criminally insane manage to scramble to the top.
Nobody could ever mistake DC for the real world. It’s an encapsulated bubble. A yuppie terrarium. The Florence of Malfeasance. Meta Wonk Central. A work free drug zone. The largest Superfund site in America. Where double sided red tape originated and they throw it around like its going out of style.
Don’t forget though, Washington is unique. The capitals of other nations are also media and entertainment centers. The only reason to venture into DC is business. It’s a company town solely designed to support the federal government. A whale of a city, with schools of subsidiary occupation pilot fish swimming and feeding alongside. And the lobbyists and campaign managers, barnacles sticking to the side, regularly messing with the air intake valves.
It is also happens to be the single worst place on the planet to have a conversation, because all anyone wants to talk about is themselves. And don’t ask for directions. Nobody has a clue about anything, yet fervently believe they possess all the answers. And some folks will go miles out of their way to confuse you, just to keep their muscles toned.
JFK said DC combined all the hospitality of the north with the efficiency of the south. Not to mention the scruples of a turkey vulture overlooking a yard full of wounded bunnies. It’s a town where you always have to worry that your best friend is wearing a wire. Where “cynical” has been raised to an art form. Imagine the Kardashians as elderly white guys with double the sense of entitlement.
Washington is the Delta of Denial. Routinely demonstrated by politicians who never understand why the rest of the country holds them in such low esteem. Even though they spend millions of dollars on ads every election cycle to convince us what despicable crooks their opponents are, and it goes both ways. They remain blithely oblivious that the only time we trust them is when they tell us the other guy is lying.
And like The Hotel California, once you check in, you can never leave. Because after spending a couple of quickly aging years in DC, you’re ruined, and can never go back to living with normal people. But hey, a person has to sleep somewhere, right? Even lobbyists. Besides, most of them can’t go home again because the rocks they used to live under are gone. Hey, the Smithsonian is nice.